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What is coming to Walt Disney World in 2024 (and beyond!)

What is coming to Walt Disney World in 2024 (and beyond!)

Although a lot of big projects are wrapping up in 2023, Disney has recently teased some exciting new projects that have us focused on 2024 and beyond.

Here’s everything we have to look forward to over the next several years at Walt Disney World!

In this article

What is opening up at Walt Disney World in 2024?

So far, for 2024 we have confirmed the return of 3 things that will make park touring and budgeting a ton easier, plus we have a couple of new attractions set to open, new Disney Vacation Club lodging coming online, and the revamping of some Walt Disney World classic attractions. And, we can’t forget that in 2024 we should *finally* see the last of the walls come down in Epcot.

Star Tours (New scenes begin April 5)

Attraction enhancements
Location: Hollywood Studios

Before Batuu there was just Star Tours, and although it isn’t the shiny new toy anymore, it is nice to see it get some love – including the addition of more than 250 new storylines that are being added to the classic Star Tours attraction.

Look for those story lines to include new locations and characters from “Ahsoka,” “Andor,” and “The Mandalorian.

star tours image from destination d23

World Celebration – CommuniCore Hall, CommuniCore Plaza, Mickey and Friends
(Opening June 10)

Reimagining of an existing project
Location: Epcot

Although World Celebration was originally scheduled to be totally completed by the end of 2023, several projects remained unfinished, so their opening dates have been moved to (we estimate) the first half of 2024. We’d love for it to be sooner – and there is a good chance it might be – but for now, we’ll play it safe and say “first half” just in case it extends longer.

The 3 projects yet to open are CommuniCore Hall, CommuniCore Plaza, and the new Mickey & Friends meet and greet area.

communicore hall

CommuniCore Hall area will serve to provide a much-needed indoor space for festival activities, something that has been missing and CommuniCore Plaza, on the other hand, will be compiled of 2 stages designed to accommodate both small and large-scale concerts.

CommuniCore Plaza

Located next to CommuniCore Hall, “Mickey & Friends will be the replacement for the former Character Spot.

mickey and friends communicore hall

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
(June 28, 2024)

Reimagining of an existing attraction
Location: Magic Kingdom

On June 25, 2020 (which was during the shutdown), Disney announced that it would be reimagining their popular Splash Mountain attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World into a Princess and the Frog-themed ride.

Disney has since confirmed the name of the new attraction would be Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. Concept art for the new attraction debuted at D23 Expo in September 2022 and in February of 2024 we got our first sneak peek of the Tiana animatronic that will be a part of the ride.

According to Disney, the attraction picks up after the end of the popular 2009 movie –  meaning guests will get to see Princess Tiana in human form rather than as a frog:

“At the end of the film, Princess Tiana realizes her lifelong dream when she opens her restaurant, Tiana’s Palace. We pick up the story during Carnival season, when Tiana is hosting a party for the people of New Orleans. She discovers her celebration is missing a key ingredient and needs our help to find it. On Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, we’ll join Tiana and Louis on a trip to the bayou, where they meet all sorts of unexpected new friends who have a special role to play at the party.”

Tianas bayou adventure

Splash Mountain permanently closed on January 23, 2023 to start the renovation and make way for the new attraction that’s set to open in Summer 2024.

tianas bayou adventure water tower

Country Bear Jamboree
(Summer 2024)

Attraction re-working
Location: Magic Kingdom

Exciting news, y’all! The Country Bear Jamboree at Walt Disney World is getting a tune-up, and come 2024, our furry friends will be back with a brand-new act.

Are we sad to see those classic songs like “My Woman Ain’t Pretty (But She Don’t Swear None)” and “All the Guys that Turn Me On Turn Me Down” retired? Eh. Not so much.

It is time to give their set list a little refresh. For those unaware, there are several pieces that use outdated and inappropriate references. And while this is definitely a classic attraction, some new music seems like a good start to making it a new classic for guests in 2024 and beyond.

Here’s what we know so far about what to expect:

When the curtain rises on the revamped show, expect the bears to put their own country twang on some of your favorite Disney tunes. And get this—the Imagineers are teaming up with musicians straight out of Nashville to make sure the new act is as authentic as is possible with singing bears.

Don’t worry, the show will keep its fun and light-hearted spirit, and all your beloved characters like Trixie and Big Al will be back to steal the spotlight. We’ll be excited to see what they come up with.

Renovation of The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
(Opening July 1, 2024)

Resort renovation and conversion to Disney Vacation Club
Location:
Disney’s Fort Wilderness

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, nestled in the heart of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom resort area, are currently undergoing exciting and totally transformational refurbishments. These updates will affect more than just the appearance, however. When complete, the cabins will also be moved from the Moderate-level resort category and become a part of Disney Vacation Club (Disney’s timeshare program).

Because these cabins are modular, unlike most refurbishments the entire structures can be quickly swapped out, dramatically shortening the time frame needed to complete such a major overhaul.

Once finished, these private one-bedroom cabins, which can host up to six guests and include options for pets, are intended to immerse Walt Disney World visitors in nature while providing modern comforts.

The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure
(Opening Fall 2024)

Reimagining of an existing attraction
Location: Hollywood Studios

After being closed for nearly 4 years, the former Voyage of the Little Mermaid show is getting new life!

voyage of the little mermaid hollywood studios

In a shocking announcement on the Disney Parks Blog we learned that the show was being revamped and would be reopening as “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure” in fall 2024.

The theater is also undergoing some work, with construction currently underway.

The Little Mermaid - A Musical Adventure

We don’t know much about the new show aside that it “will feature stunning new set pieces, cutting-edge effects, and a bold new design that captures Ariel’s imagination and emotions through her unique view of the world around her.”

Disney has also confirmed that many of the beloved songs would make an appearance, including “Part of Your World,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” and more.

New Disney Vacation Club Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
(Late 2024 – exact date unknown)

Resort expansion
Location:
Disney’s Polynesian Resort

A new DVC Tower is planned for the Poly.

The DVC tower is “inspired by the early concepts for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort” and “the Imagineers of today are honoring the past while furthering the resort story with this innovative addition.”

The proposed plan would offer additional rooms, an infinity edge pool, new recreation offerings, and dining options.

What new things have already opened in 2024?

Lots of fun things have already opened or restarted in 2024. Here’s all you can find:

End to Park Pass Reservations
(Started January 9, 2024)

When the parks reopened after the Covid shutdown, Park Pass Reservations were added as a way to control the capacity of guests inside each park. And confusingly, even after Disney returned all parks to their full capacity, Park Pass Reservations remained.

But Disney said “new year, old me!” and turned back the clock, eliminating those pesky Park Pass reservations for date-based tickets beginning back on January 9.

make or modify disney park pass reservation

Notice we didn’t say “all tickets”, though. Nope.

Annual Passholders are still required to make Park Pass Reservations, however, those with APs have pockets of time called “Good-to-Go” days when Park Pass Reservations aren’t be required.

All-Day Park Hopping
(Started January 9, 2024)

Another challenging change implemented following the shutdown was the limitation of Park Hopping to times after 2:00 p.m. only

But, that has now ended, too and all-day Park Hopping is back. That means you can hop into Epcot for first breakfast and be sitting in the Hub of Magic Kingdom for second breakfast before skiddadling over to Animal Kingdom for lunch.

tapstile

Of course, it isn’t so simple for Annual Passholders. Here’s how Disney explains the process for Park Hopping for APs:

To use the Park Hopper benefit, Annual Passholders must make a theme park reservation for the first park they plan to visit AND enter that first park prior to visiting another. Or, they can enter a theme park without a reservation on a “good-to-go” day for that park or after 2 p.m. (except Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays) before visiting another park.

Disney Dining Plan
(Started January 9, 2024)

The Disney Dining Plan may not save you big money, but for people looking to make their trip feel all-inclusive or for those that want to nail down a budget way ahead of their trip, it can make a lot of sense.

For those new to Disney World planning, the Disney Dining Plan allows you to pre-purchase a set number of credits that you can then redeem for meals at either Quick Service or Table Service restaurants. How many of each type of credit you get depends upon the plan.

Dining plan comparison graphic

In addition to full meals, you also get snack credits that you can use for things like popcorn, ice cream, etc. The list of snacks is pretty long, but Disney marks eligible items with the Disney Dining Plan logo, so you’ll know ahead of time if you can use a credit on it or not.

What new things opened at Disney World in 2023?

2023 was a busy year for openings at Walt Disney World. Here’s everything we saw make its debut:

Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land
(Opened March 23, 2023)

New restaurant
Location: Hollywood Studios

Located in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is a full-service restaurant offering guests the opportunity to be immersed in Andy’s world, one where he’s taped together cardboard boxes to create a rodeo arena using a “kaleidoscope of toys, games, and playsets.”

roundup rodeo bbq in toy story land at hollywood studios

Construction on this project was well underway before the shutdown and Disney (finally) confirmed in January 2023 that it would, in fact, open on March 23, 2023.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Happily Ever After
(Returned April 3, 2023)

Returning nighttime show
Location: Magic Kingdom

Happily Ever After was a popular nighttime fireworks show at Magic Kingdom that ran from May 2017 to September 2021 and featured castle projections, an insanely popular theme song (“Happily Ever After”), fireworks, and Tinker Bell flying through the sky.

The show ended and was replaced by Disney Enchantment as part of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Many guests were unhappy with this change, and it seems like Disney listened. At D23 Expo in September 2022, it was announced that Happily Ever After would return in 2023 with the same popular music but with an “updated nighttime spectacular.”

The final showing of Disney Enchantment was offered on April 2, 2023, with the return of Happily Ever After the following night.

EPCOT Forever (interim Epcot Nighttime Show)
(Limited returned April 3, 2023 – December 4, 2023)

Returning nighttime show
Location: Epcot

EPCOT Forever originally debuted in 2019 as a temporary replacement for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, while what we thought would be a long-term show replacement Harmonious was being developed.

But alas, before we knew it, Disney surprised everyone with an announcement that Harmonious would too be closing far sooner than anyone thought we would see.

Epcot Forever

EPCOT Forever made another run as the interim nighttime show between the closing of Harmonious and the opening of the NEW Nighttime show – Luminous The Symphony of Us.

Epcot Forever celebrated the history, present, and future of Epcot and features fireworks, laser shows, and kites controlled by jet skis. In our opinion, it was just an “okay” show and not one that we are terribly sad to see leave.

Tron Lightcycle Power Run
(Opened April 4, 2023)

New attraction
Location: Magic Kingdom

Inspired by a similar attraction at Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle Power Run is a brand new coaster-style attraction that can be found at Magic Kingdom.

tron lightcycle run canopy

Originally slated to be a part of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, TRON instead opened up in 2023.

Tron at Night

This amazing new coaster puts guests aboard a two-wheeled “lightning cycle” before sending them off on a thrilling adventure on the digital frontier.

Tron Lightcycle Power Run

Not only is TRON intense, it is incredibly fun.

Moana Meet and Greet in Animal Kingdom
(Opened April 22, 2023)

New character meet and greet
Location: Animal Kingdom, on Discovery Island

We were so excited to see that one of our most favorite adventurers of all time has returned and is greeting guests inside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

moana animal kingdom

Moana arrived and began greeting guests on Discovery Island back on April 22.

Previously, opportunities to meet Moana were limited to parties like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party where she often garnered long lines. But with this new meet and greet and the one at Epcot, we now have multiple places to meet her!

Figment Meet and Greet
(Opened September 10, 2023)

New character experience
Location: Epcot

figment meet and greet at epcot's imagination pavilion

Announced at D23 in September 2022, fan favorite Figment from the Journey into Imagination attraction has returned for a meet and greet at Epcot.

Unfortunately, he has taken up the space where Vanellope once greeted guests, but that doesn’t seem to be a big deal as his lines are consistently pretty long.

Mirabel Meet and Greet
(Opened September 15, 2023)

New character meet and greet
Location: Fairytale Gardens in Magic Kingdom

Previously, about the only place you could catch Mirabel at Walt Disney World was in the Adventure Friends Cavalcade, but we are so excited that she has moved into her very own meet and greet in the Fairytale Gardens at Magic Kingdom.

fairytale gardens

The Fairytale Gardens are located next to Cinderella Castle and are enclosed by walls and plenty of trees.

Disney re-themed the area and Mirabel is now “surrounded by whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal”. It is enchanting!

Merida, the former resident of Fairytale Gardens, has been moved to the Liberty Square Gazebo.

Parking Lot Trams (September 2023)

Returning transportation
Location: Epcot and Hollywood Studios (Magic Kingdom trams returned in December 2021 and Animal Kingdom trams returned in May 2022)

Now, we know that it might seem kind of silly to list “parking lot trams” as something worthy of being noted, but if you’ve ever driven to the parks you’ll know that having these little pieces of convenience return is a big deal (especially at the end of a long park day!).

Parking Lot Tram

We are thrilled to say that all 4 parks now have their parking lot trams back and in service.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana and Moana Meet & Greet
(Opened October 16, 2023)

New interactive experience
Location: Epcot

The new Journey of Water area (part of World Nature) opened up on October 16, 2023. This new exploration trail connects guests to the story of our planet’s water – which doesn’t sound like much, but it is honestly a really cool attraction.

te fiti at journey of water inspired by moana

In addition to this walkthrough attraction, there is also a spot where you can meet Moana!

World Celebration Gardens
(Opened December 5, 2023)

Location: Epcot

World Celebration is a new area of Epcot that is located near the park entrance in the area previously known as Future World.

world celebration updates - map

There are many enhancements coming with the new World Celebration neighborhood including Dreamers Point and World Celebration Gardens

Within Dreamer’s Point, there is a statue of Walt Disney celebrating the legacy of the “original dreamer.”

Additionally, there is a garden area between Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase. Here’s what Disney says about this area:

World Celebration will offer a beautiful hub divided into several different gardens, with a central planter based on the five-ring EPCOT logo. Filled with ample seating and shade, you’ll be invited to connect with one another and the nature around you in this lush new area. Each of these gardens will have their own identities, and they’ll change along with the festivals throughout the year.

Because of all the updates happening at Epcot, we put all the details into a larger post covering the Epcot Construction.

Hatbox Ghost at Haunted Mansion
(November 30, 2023)

If you are a Haunted Mansion fan, you probably know all about the Hatbox Ghost.

In November 2023, Walt Disney World got their very own Hatbox Ghost. He’s similar to the one at Disneyland, except the one at Magic Kingdom is in the hallway at the beginning of the attraction.

Luminous The Symphony of Us
(Debuted December 5, 2023)

New nighttime show
Location: Epcot

new epcot fireworks spectacular

On December 5, 2023, Harmonious (which debuted in October 2021) was replaced by a new nighttime spectacular in celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary.

Called Luminous The Symphony of Us, this new show uses barges and props that are less obstructive from its predecessor.

Here’s how Disney describes it:

Delight in a dramatic show designed to bring us all together. Marvel at a dazzling pageant of fireworks, fountains, music and lights set to an original composition. New music, along with evocative selections from the Disney songbook, come together to remind us that we are more alike than we are different.

VIDEO: Everything NEW coming to Disney World in 2023

Announced projects with no known dates

New “Play” pavilion

New interactive experience
Location: Epcot

Located in the former “Wonders of Life Pavilion,” this new attraction has been described as “an immersive and interactive experience where play fuels the fun.”

Disney says: “Built on the power of play, [the new pavilion] introduces an immersive and interactive ‘city’ where you can explore, create, and interact with some of your favorite Disney characters.”

Play pavilion at Epcot

This is one of the projects that we wouldn’t be surprised to see delayed.

Disney hasn’t said much on it since the reopening. And although construction appears to be moving along on the outside of the old Wonders of Life pavilion, it isn’t easy to know just how much of the original concept we’ll actually see come to fruition. 

Read more about the updates happening at Epcot.

While there are some previously announced projects we are confident that Disney has put on hold or permanently shelved, there are others that we think are still planned, even if Disney hasn’t said much about them recently. And the fact that Disney still lists the Play pavilion on maps has us believing this project will still likely happen.

Wondrous China

New show
Location: Epcot

Announced at Destination D in November 2018, China will be getting an updated 360-degree film.

It was originally set to open in 2020. But, like many other projects, it was delayed. 

China pavilion

We hope to see the new China film, called Wondrous China, premier in 2023, but we also wouldn’t be surprised to see the project pushed further out (or shelved all together).

Test Track Reimagining

Attraction reimagining
Location:
Epcot

No word on when it will happen, but look for Test Track to once again be reimagined with help from Chevrolet.

This will be just one of many evolutions for this attraction that started with the original World of Motion.

Pirates-Themed Tavern

New bar
Location:
Magic Kingdom

We don’t have a lot of details (yet) but a new Tavern will be coming to Adventureland.

new tavern near pirates

Located near Pirates of the Caribbean, it will “extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean”.

Although they didn’t say, to us the artwork kind of gives off Oga’s Cantina vibes in that it looks like it might be on the smaller side but heavily themed. We will just have to wait and see what the final plans reveal.

Zootopia Show at Tree of Life Theater

Show re-theming
Location: Animal Kingdom

While we don’t have a date, a brand-new show centered on the animated hit Zootopia is in the works for the iconic Tree of Life.

zootopia show animal kingdom

In this upcoming experience, you’ll get to explore the various biomes briefly seen in the movie. What’s more, you’ll be journeying alongside familiar faces like Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde.

Yes, it is always tough to see an original attraction leave a park, BUT if you’ve ever seen “It’s Tough to be a Bug” you’ll know that this show – while very on-theme for Animal Kingdom – has a tendency to terrorize both children and adults. For goodness’s sake, giant SPIDERS descend from the ceiling while bugs “crawl” across your backside.

It will be fun to see a show in that incredible theater without having to hear children cry out of fear.

D23 “Blue Sky” Ideas

New concepts
Location: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom

As part of the D23 Expo in September 2022, Disney announced several “blue sky ideas” for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. While none of these are official projects and are only ideas, we thought we should include the details in case they become projects that Disney pursues in the future.

Magic Kingdom blue-sky ideas

  • Encanto and Coco elements being added to Magic Kingdom, but still in early concepts
  • “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” (5th gate?) will include a villain area – again, early concept phases

Animal Kingdom blue-sky ideas

  • Retheme DinoLand U.S.A. into a “Tropical Americas” with elements from Encanto and Indiana Jones.
new land animal kingdom

We are likely a year or more from hearing any more details on either of the projects. But, at least now, we know that the possibility is there.

Announced projects that are on hold (or maybe not happening at all)

Mary Poppins area

New interactive experience
Location: Epcot

Mary Poppins area

Announced at D23 in August 2019, Cherry Tree Lane was supposed to be joining the UK pavilion.

But then 2020 hit and Disney quietly removed any mention of this new attraction from the Epcot Experience (which is a new-ish attraction where guests can see the projects and plans for Epcot). 

After being so excited about this fun addition, we were honestly quite sad to see the project shelved.

Disney hasn’t yet said if this is a temporary suspension or if we’ll see the project happening sometime in the future.

You can bet we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the latter.

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Lodge

New resort
Location:
Magic Kingdom Resort area (between Ft. Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge)

Building on the popularity of Disney Vacation Club, a planned 16th resort was in the works for the area between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.

For guests familiar with that area, that is the spot of the now-closed River Country Water Park.

Disney Lakeside Lodge

In fact, Disney had permits filed, and the land was cleared. But since the shutdown, there has been zero activity on the site. 

Disney is no stranger to abandoning resort construction. Fans familiar with the Pop Century saga know that the area where Art of Animation now sits was originally planned as the 2nd half of Pop Century known as the “Legendary Years.” 

At the point that the Pop Century Legendary Years section was scratched, several buildings were already up. And until Disney began construction on Art of Animation, they sat there empty and abandoned (and slightly creepy looking). 

“Reflections” was nowhere near that far along in the construction process before everything was halted. Still, just like we saw the abandoned Pop Century space re-imagined in better times, we hope to see this project take off again sometime in the future. 

Spaceship Earth enhancements

Attraction overhaul
Location:
Epcot

Before the big shutdown, Disney was planning a long refurbishment of the popular Spaceship Earth.

And while we do love the attraction now, we were really looking forward to seeing the enhancements, especially after Disney clarified that “Many of the moments you know and love will be updated in amazing ways, blended with brand-new scenes to tell a story about our human experience.”

That felt like the best of both worlds to us, and the concept art they released looked stunning:

Egypt Spaceship Earth

But, like many other projects that were announced, this one too has been quietly shelved. 

We do think that we will (eventually) see this attraction get a much-needed face-lift; it just likely won’t be for the next couple of years.

What new things opened at Disney World in 2022?

DuckTales Worldshowcase Adventure
(Opened December 16, 2022)

New interactive game
Location:
Epcot

Disney has several different free activities and games that families can play in the parks, and we love them as an excellent alternative to attractions.

Epcot’s version has seen several incarnations with both Kim Possible and most recently Agent P, but that last one is being replaced with a new DuckTales-themed adventure.

DuckTales World Showcase Adventure debuted in December of 2022 as part of Epcot’s 40th anniversary celebration and it was officially been added to the Play Disney App on December 9.

According to Disney, the new adventure game will be “the perfect way for the young and young-at-heart to play their way around World Showcase – because life is better when we explore the world around us together!”

Fantasmic!
(Reopened November 3, 2022)

Returning entertainment
Location:
Hollywood Studios

Although this isn’t a new show, the return of Fantasmic! did have a few new sequences and characters.

mickey fantasmic

It was fantastic to see this fan favorite make its return to Hollywood Studios!

Hoop Dee Doo Review
(Reopened June 23, 2022)

Returning dinner show
Location: Fort Wilderness

After hearing that the beloved Spirit of Aloha luau would not be returning, fans of the popular dinner show Hoop Dee Doo were worried that it would see the same fate.

hoop dee doo musical revue

But, the rousing Wild West show has made a comeback, and we can all rest a bit easier.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond
(Opened June 13, 2022)

Re-imagined show
Location:
Animal Kingdom

In September, Disney announced that “Finding Nemo: The Musical” at Animal Kingdom would be returning sometime in 2022, but in a reimagined way with new storylines and the return of songs from the original show, including “In the Big Blue World” and “Go with the Flow.”

Finding nemo theater in the wild

Well, we learned that the updated show is called “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond” and is set in the timeline of the movie Finding Dory.

The audience finds themselves at the Marine Life Institute and they “catch up with the fish from Dr. P. Sherman’s office in Finding Nemo, who have made their way across the ocean to California.”

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
(Officially opened May 27, 2022)

New attraction
Location: Epcot

The new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind “storytelling coaster-style” attraction at Epcot is now open and is a huge fan favorite.

cosmic rewind nova corps starblastr ship

Featuring ride vehicles that rotate and direct your view towards the story unfolding around you, this new attraction is HUGE (Disney has said it is one of the world’s longest enclosed coasters) and has impressed guests since its opening in 2022.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind vehicles

New Epcot entrance
(Construction completed in 2022)

Location: Epcot

The new entrance to Epcot is now complete. Some notable changes are the removable of the Leave a Legacy monoliths (now located outside the front entrance of the park) and the addition of the fountain spires in front of Spaceship Earth.

Epcot entrance spaceship earth

In addition to those changes, over 1,800 points of light have been added to Spaceship Earth that are used in conjunction with projections for nightly light shows.

Connections Café and Eatery
(Officially opened April 27, 2022)

New restaurant
Location: Epcot

Epcot has new Starbucks and Quick Service locations!

Located next door to one another, these 2 individual dining locations offer guests a spot to grab either a full meal (on the Eatery side) or delicious Starbucks coffee (on the Café side).

connections cafe - Epcot

Festival of Fantasy Parade
(Returned March 9, 2022)

Returning entertainment
Location:
Magic Kingdom

Great news! The popular daytime Festival of Fantasy parade has returned!

mickey and minnie - festival of fantasy parade

You can typically catch it twice daily. Check the My Disney Experience app for exact times.

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
(Returned February 25, 2022)

Returning entertainment
Location:
Magic Kingdom

A 50th anniversary edition of Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire has come to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage at Magic Kingdom.

magical friendship faire at magic kingdom

It’s called “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” and incorporates favorite scenes from the previous version of the show, plus a new opening and a new finale with Mickey Mouse and all his friends in their sparkling, EARidescent costumes.

There’s even an all-new, original song called “Where the Magic Feels Like Home.”

Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade
(Began February 11, 2022)

New entertainment
Location:
Magic Kingdom

A brand-new cavalcade called “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” has debuted at Magic Kingdom.

The cavalcade features “the most characters of any cavalcade to date,” like Nick and Judy from Zootopia, Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book, José Carioca and Panchito from The Three Caballeros, Miguel from Coco, plus Merida, Moana, The Incredibles, and more!

disney adventure friends cavalcade

Select tours
(Returned February 6, 2022)

Returning Enchanting Extra
Location:
Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom

Although the parks have been reopened for quite awhile, tours (aside from private VIP Tours) have been mostly put on hold.

But, some fan favorite tours made their return in early February 2022.

Caring for Giants

While not all tours are returning, the following did:

  • Keys to the Kingdom (Magic Kingdom)
  • Caring for Giants (Animal Kingdom)
  • Wild Africa Trek (Animal Kingdom)
  • Up Close with Rhinos (Animal Kingdom)
  • Savor the Savanna (Animal Kingdom)

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort
(Opened March 1, 2022)

New resort
Location
: near Hollywood Studios

Disney’s new boutique Star Wars-themed hotel has officially opened.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser room

Billed as a “living adventure” and totally unlike anything else on Disney property, this new resort (which is less of a resort and more of an experience) is 100% immersive and connects guests to the Star Wars universe in never before seen ways.

Stays at the Galactic Starcruiser resort last 2 days and include plenty of opportunities to interact and participate with stories and characters on their adventure.

Check out our Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser page to learn everything we knew about this new resort, including information on pricing and the configuration of passenger cabins and suites.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

What new things opened at Disney World in 2021?

Drawn to Life – new Cirque du Soleil show
(Opened November 18, 2021)

New show
Location: Disney Springs

The brand new Cirque du Soleil show named “Drawn to Life” in Disney Springs debuted on November 18, 2021. Tickets are now on sale.

The show (which was just days away from opening before the closure) is a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

According to Disney, the show will “celebrate the art of animation through the magic of storytelling in a way that only Cirque du Soleil can deliver while paying homage to the craftsmanship that makes Disney animation special and unique.”

From the description, the show sounds absolutely charming and is sure to be a hit with both Disney and Cirque fans:

“This new show follows the story of Julie, a courageous and determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her late father: an unfinished animation piece. Guided by a surprising pencil, she embarks on an inspiring quest sprinkled with her Disney childhood memories. Through this journey, she learns to imagine new possibilities and animate the story of her future.”

Check out the videos below for some behind-the-scenes looks at the new show.

Genie, Genie+, Lightning Lanes
(Began October 18, 2021)

New line management system
Location: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom

Goodbye FastPass, hello Disney Genie!

Toy Story mania lightning Lane

Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Disney Lightning Lanes are all part of the new line management system that has replaced FastPass+.

And, unlike the old system, this one actually costs money, so it is more important than ever to spend some time figuring out exactly how it works.

The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
(Opened November 3, 2021)

New resort
Location: Boardwalk area

Swan Reserve

A new resort has come to the Swan and Dolphin-area.

Originally named “The Cove, this new resort, now called “The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve,” will be more group-oriented and convention-focused. It will include several venues for renting, including a rooftop area perfect for weddings and other V.I.P. events.

Swan Reserve pool

Marriot (who owns the Swan and Dolphin and this new resort) had previously set a July 2021 opening date for this new resort; however, the opening was postponed until later in 2021.

Space 220 (Opened September 20, 2021) 

New restaurant
Location: Epcot

Located between Mission: Space and Test Track, this new space-themed restaurant uses special technology to give guests views of “space” from their table.

space 220 lounge area

We love the concept. The idea that you’re looking down from 220 miles up (hence the name, “Space 220″) really fits that area of the park, and from the descriptions, we think both kids and adults will love the aesthetics. 

We originally expected this restaurant to open up in the Winter of 2019/2020. However, even before the pandemic, it was plagued by several delays.

We finally got to see it open its doors in September 2021.

Check out our Space 220 review for more pics and information.

space 220 astronaut window

Disney Enchantment (Opened October 1, 2021)

New nighttime show
Location: Magic Kingdom

With the big 50th Anniversary Celebration, Disney unveiled a brand-new nighttime show at Magic Kingdom.

disney enchantment magic kingdom

As described by Disney, the evening event “will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment.”

Disney Enchantment also includes music, enhanced lighting, fireworks, and for the first time projections extending from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

And yes, Tink does still fly.

Disney KiteTails (Opened October 1, 2021)

New daytime show
Location: Animal Kingdom

Note: This closed at the end of September 2022.

Animal Kingdom got in on the big 50th Anniversary action, too.

Disney kite tails

This new show, called “Disney KiteTails,” incorporates performers flying windcatchers and 3D kites – with some stretching to 30 feet long! They depict beloved characters, like Simba, Zazu, Baloo, and King Louie

Harmonious (Opened October 1, 2021)

New nighttime show
Location: Epcot

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth ended in 2019. And for a short period of time before the shutdown, a temporary show called Epcot Forever was presented in its place.

Harmonious

But for the 50th, Disney debuted a brand-new show called Harmonious.

Not only does it include fireworks, but the production also uses large barges that double as both screens for nighttime and fountains during the daytime hours. 

Harmonious at Epcot

Probably the best part of this new show is the music. Filled with Disney favorites performed in a rainbow of languages, the score for this show should appeal to fans young and old.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (opened October 1, 2021)

New attraction
Location: Epcot

The France pavilion got a new Ratatouille-themed attraction named “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.”

remy's ratatouille adventure epcot

Like the version at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, this 4-D attraction uses an innovative “trackless” ride system. 

Beauty and the Beast Singalong

La Crêperie De Paris (opened October 1, 2021)

New restaurant
Location: Epcot

Now open near the new “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure” is an authentic crêperie featuring cuisine from chef Jérôme Bocuse who is already behind Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul in the Epcot France pavilion.

The new restaurant features savory and sweet crepes and has both a quick-service and table service dining option.

Epcot Creperie

Cinderella Castle Makeover

Enhancement
Location: Magic Kingdom

Begun just before the big shutdown, Cinderella Castle has now been transformed from the blue/grey paint scheme:

Cindarella Castle

Into a majestic pink masterpiece:

Cinderella Castle

We admit, in the beginning, we were a little bit hesitant about the change.

But after seeing it in person, we love the new look, and it seems perfect for the big 50th Anniversary Celebration.

What new things opened in 2020?

Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (Opened January 17, 2020)

New attraction
Location: Epcot

Capitalizing on the success of the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in Epcot, this new Beauty and the Beast-themed sing-along is housed in the same theater where Impressions de France is shown.

But don’t worry – you can still catch Impressions de France; you’ll just need to check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes.

This new show was created by the same person (Don Hahn) that produced both the animated and live-action versions of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along

Truth be told, we don’t love it. Without the live actors (like you see for the Frozen Sing-Along), it falls flat.

It is a nice place to rest your feet, but we wouldn’t really suggest making it a priority unless you just really, really love Beauty and the Beast.

Awesome Planet (January 17, 2020)

New show
Location: Epcot

The Land pavilion at Epcot got a new film with an environmental message called “Awesome Planet.” 

According to Disney, the film features “spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and space sequences created by none other than Industrial Light & Magic (which provided the cinematic foundation for the Star Wars franchise).”

Awesome Planet coming to Epcot

The film itself is beautiful and is a nice time-filler.

Canada Far and Wide (Opened January 17, 2020)

New show
Location: Epcot

Announced at Destination D in November 2018, Canada received an updated 360-degree film in early 2020. 

Called “Canada Far and Wide,” it is packed with gorgeous Canadian views while being narrated by Canadian treasures Eugene Levy and Catherine O Hara. 

Canada Far and Wide

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue (Opened February 19, 2020)

New restaurant
Location: Epcot

A new quick-service restaurant called “Regal Eagle Smokehouse” has taken the place of Liberty Inn in the American Adventure pavilion.

According to Disney, the “new location is a modern barbecue smokehouse, with all the accompanying sights, sounds, smells, and flavors you love – including a large smoker preparing fine food every day right on the pavilion’s promenade. There is also a redesigned patio for you to enjoy, so get ready to grab a brew, some barbecue, and relax inside Epcot.”

Read more on the Disney Parks Blog.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Opened March 4, 2020)

New attraction
Location: Hollywood Studios

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened up in Spring 2020 as part of Hollywood Studios’ 30th Anniversary.  This new attraction is inside the Chinese Theater and replaced The Great Movie Ride, which closed in 2017.

Featuring new technology Disney calls “2 ½ D”, guests are put inside the zany world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon in the first-ever ride-through attraction themed entirely around Mickey Mouse.

There is no minimum height requirement for this attraction, which means the whole family can enjoy it!

Mickey and Minnie's Ruanway Railway

Read more about it in our Spoiler-Free Guide to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Mickey Shorts Theater (Opened March 4, 2020)

New attraction
Location: Hollywood Studios

Taking the place of the now-closed Star Wars: Path of the Jedi theater, this new Mickey Shorts Theater opened in Hollywood Studios in March 2020.

The theater features a short film styled after the animated series “Mickey Mouse” on the Disney Channel. Not only is it cute, but it also gives guests a great place to cool off on a hot day.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Mickey Shorts Theater